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Te manawa and Massey University honoured by UNESCO


TE MANAWA AND MASSEY UNIVERSITY HONOURED BY UNESCO

A joint initiative between Te Manawa, Massy University and Te Papa was among four projects honoured by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO as part of the United Nations Year of Cultural Heritage Year 2002.

The international conference Indigenous Art and Heritage & The Politics of Identity was hosted by Te Putahi a Toi at Massey University between 6-9 July this year, and the associated Te Manawa exhibition Toi te Ata, were held to examine the current state of indigenous interventionist policies relating to the practice, dissemination, discourse and promotion of the visual arts in the Pacific Rim. The event was conceived as an opportunity to strengthen links between tangata whenua artists, curators, art commentators and writers with the indigenous peoples of the Pacific and other nations.

"The awards are designed to recognise and draw attention to the great range of cultural heritage activities taking place around New Zealand in this the United Nations Year of Cultural Heritage," says UNESCO NZ Secretary General Elizabeth Rose.

Ms Rose says the Year for Cultural Heritage, for which UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) has responsibility, aims to raise awareness of the importance of cultural heritage and to stimulate countries to undertake significant activities and measures to safeguard their heritage,

"Each of the projects that we have endorsed targets a fundamental aspect of our cultural heritage," Ms Rose says.

"It is easy for these things, especially one-off events like conferences and exhibitions, to slip by. But they are important milestones in the development of New Zealand's national identity, and they help us learn about and celebrate unique strands of our culture and history."

UNESCO also awarded Certificates of Endorsement to the National Library Exhibition of Ngatl Kahungunu; the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, Toitu te Marae Project and the Archives New Zealand exhibition Reclaiming our natural heritage.

UNESCO has been involved in safeguarding and preserving cultural heritage for more than 50 years. More recently, it has focused attention on the importance of local and indigenous knowledge as a resource for promoting cultural diversity and social and economic development.

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